Mining mafia kills opponent

Mining mafia kills opponent

Panchayat member's death sparks violence

A block panchayat member was shot dead in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district, about 40 kilometres from here, allegedly for opposing illegal mining activities in his village Jauras.

The broad daylight killing of the member identified as Manorath Verma triggered widespread tension in the area and people came out on the streets in a large number, indulged in heavy stone pelting and torched several buses and other vehicles on the busy Lucknow-Varanasi national highway.

Verma had been opposing illegal mining activities in the village, which lies on the banks of a small river, reports said. He had challenged the local mining mafia run by Gomti Yadav.
The bullet-riddled body of Verma was recovered from a nearby canal on Thursday after which tension spread in the area.

The mafia gang members also opened fire at Verma’s father but he survived. It is also alleged that a few cops deployed at the local police station at Loni Katra were also involved in the killing.

Mob dispersed

Police had to carry out a lathicharge and fire tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
Traffic on the busy national highway came to a halt and a long queue of vehicles could be seen on both sides of the highway.

Senior officials reached the spot and security personnel in strength were deployed to maintain law and order, officials said.

Mafia still active

Despite strict direction by the state government to crackdown on the illegal mining activities, the mafia is still active in several parts of the state allegedly in collusion with the police.

According to the sources here, over two dozen people have been killed in past few years over disputes pertaining to division of the booty or for opposing the mining mafia in different parts of the state.

Only recently, the UP government suspended Durga Shakti Nagpal, an IAS officer, after she allegedly cracked down on sand mining mafia in Greater Noida. The UP government has recently announced that it is contemplating setting up a special force to check illegal mining operations.